10 reasons why "the 70%" should get out and vote

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

47 comments

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On civic election day will you be part of the solution or the problem?

It is estimated that anywhere from 28-31% of eligible voters will cast their ballot in Vancouver. That means about 70% of you will not bother to take 15 minutes out of your day to vote. Rather than simply shaming you into voting, we thought we'd provide you 10 reasons why you should vote!

Here we go!

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Why vote? Because voting costs less than a Starbucks coffee. It also takes you less time to vote than waiting for your skinny peppermint mocha to be brewed up!

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Why vote? Because in some countries the right to vote is so precious they're prepared to die in order to obtain it.

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Why vote? Because in our country, thousands of soldiers have already paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that you can.

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Why vote? Because unlike at school, it's the kind of multiple choice exam that offers no failing grade.

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Why vote? Because you can't legitimately complain afterward if civic politicians aren't listening to you

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Why vote? Because vital city services like fresh water, paved roads, street lights, sidewalks, bike paths, parks, schools depend on it.

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Why vote? Because many civic races are won by the slimmest of margins. Even one vote could make the difference.

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Why vote? Because unlike Federal & Provincial elections, the at-large system allows you to vote up to 25 times on the same ballot. What a deal!!!

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Why vote? Because the vote counting machines for city elections are kinda cool! And there is no risk of losing your vote due to a dangling chad.

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Why vote? Because the future of their city depends on it.

For more information on where to vote in your local city, simply Google your city's name and type in "election 2011". Voting booths are open early tomorrow morning and will close at 8 pm. For the reasons indicated above, we sure hope you won't be part of the 70%. Please occupy a voting booth.

- Post by Daniel. You can follow us on on Twitter @CityCaucus or you can "like" us on Facebook at facebook.com/citycaucus.

47 Comments

I have a friend living in Tunisia. For his entire life he always knew who would be elected president. His father spent years in jail, just because he questioned Ben Ali's hold on power. A few weeks back I chatted with my friend as he waited for hours in line to vote freely for the very first time. All he could do was sob. Hearing his family talk about the sweetness of a future with democracy made me feel so ashamed of how I take voting for granted.

I take my hat off to all the candidates that want to make their city a better place. I don't have to agree with them to respect their passion and dedication.

Now its our turn to vote. Do it for your kids, your neighbours, your city... and for those who don't have the same privilege.

CUPE donated $260,000 to Vision Vancouver in the last civic election according to the Vancouver Sun website. Looking at the CUPE 1004 website, the bargaining agent for COV workers, one sees that at the Oct. 11, 2011 CUPE 1004 meeting, Robertson and others from VV and COPE were guests and the Mayor "expressed solidarity with the CUPE workers". The current CBA between CUPE 1004 and COV expires at the end of December and under both the CBA and the BC Labour Code, the parties are deemed to have given notice to commence collective bargaining. Its been strangely silent on the bargaining front, and given the huge political contribution in the last election to VV and the Mayor's solidarity with CUPE, one must ask, where does bargaining sit between theses two parties? Is there a formal/informal agreement in place between VV and CUPE regarding negotiations? What is being hidden from the public regarding the arrangement between the Mayor, who seems confused about his role as CEO of the city at the bargaining table that being the employer and not part of the union fraternity, and CUPE 1004. Has bargaining commenced behind closed doors. Look at what Labour Canada reported in May regarding the COV and Police settlement. "Wage adjustments in March ranged from a wage freeze for 16,000 professional and technical employees with the Health Employers Association of
British Columbia, to a high of 3.1% for 1,450 police officers with the Vancouver Police Board." So, in one part of the public service a wage freeze while in another a settlement that is more than double the average in BC for unionized workers and a high across Canada. Folks keep in mind, according to the last municipal employes pension plan actuarial report, that the unfunded liability for basic and indexed pension benefits is between 7.8 and 8.02 BILLION dollars. We need a council that is not behooved to the unions and understands its role at the bargaining table with public sector unions.

"and for those who don't have the same privilege. "

Yeah, like all the permanent residents and people under 18 denied a say in their government because they aren't old enough, or haven't sworn an oath of fealty to an unelected, unaccountable Queen. You can pay our taxes, you just can't have a say in how things are run. Undemocratic to the max.

Chris, the business community pay half the bills (taxes) but don't get a vote either.

What is that phrase... taxation without representation?

A business isn't a person Julia. If the business owner is a Canadian citizen they get a ballot just like anyone else.

Further, a business isn't always just an owner. It could be a partnership, or a corporation, or a cooperative, or what have you. How would you decide who gets to choose which candidate to vote for with a public company? If you went down that road, you'd find yourself handing out the franchise to legitimate businesses run by criminal organizations too. Fraught with complications and unintended consequences. Let's give the vote to more people first. We know that works.

Chris, I will let John and Chuck, and Myra and Brian know that.

My mother lived and worked here (after immigrating as a teenager)
Because she was allowed to vote as a British subject she voted every time.
During the war years, etc.
When the rules were changed about voting she decided to make a decision.

She became a Canadian!

What's wrong with that?

Nothing wrong with that Chris. But I haven't heard a good reason why a permanent resident with 5 years of residence in Canada should have fewer rights than a natural-born citizen. Nobody gets to choose what side of these imaginary lines they are born, so why does a permanent resident have to pay hundreds of dollars for the right to vote?

"I will let John and Chuck, and Myra and Brian know that. "

Sorry, I don't get the reference. :-(

cheers,

CK

sorry, Chris K, this thread was about encouraging people to vote.

yep, wouldn't it be great if more people COULD vote?

My mother lived and worked here (after immigrating as a teenager)
Because she was allowed to vote as a British subject she voted every time.
During the war years, etc.
When the rules were changed about voting she decided to make a decision.

She became a Canadian!

What's wrong with that?

Not sure why my post came through twice.

What is wrong with any country asking that voters be a citizen of their country?

Born there, or deciding to become a citizen?

What negative impact are we preventing from having permanent residents vote?

Chris K, what sort of examples do you have for other jurisdictions where someone that does not have citizenship is eligible to vote?

If this country found itself in the position where we had to reinstate conscription would a permanent resident have to take up arms the same as my grandsons?

Chris, that's complete nonsense. If you want to vote in a country, you become a citizen. That's a commitment you make, and in return, you get a vote. So it takes about 3.5 years to pay your dues and become a citizen. That seems perfectly fair to me.

Give me one example of when our right to vote has ever been threatened, that we have had to have soldiers 'pay the ultimate sacrifice to defend it'. What a load of BS...you sound like an American claiming their democracy is being defended by sending soldiers to Iraq...yawn

Hi Julia;

Thanks for not considering my perspective 'complete nonsense' LOL ;-)

Canada used to extend the franchise to landed immigrants. I forget exactly when that ended, sometime in my teens/early 20s IIRC, so late 70s or early 80s. I couldn't tell you why they stopped the practice, but if we want more people to vote, then I think we have to ask ourselves if it's fair that a criminal with Cdn citizen can vote but a law-abiding permanent resident cannot.

Currently non-citizens have the right to vote locally in England, Australia and parts of the U.S. according to this article in Metro published yesterday.

http://www.metronews.ca/vancouver/local/article/1025793--resident-urges-votes-for-all

At foo:

Why is it completely fair? The only difference between a citizen and a permanent resident is a piece of paper and some regulations and hundreds of dollars and investment in time it takes to get the same. It's a two-tiered system that extends greater privileges to the people lucky enough to be born here, while denying the people who work to get here the same rights. I have no problem with a minimum length of time being required before you can vote (5 years might be a good waiting period) but there's no rational reason to refuse a willing voter the chance to cast a ballot. If there is, then please share it with the rest of us

Scott if you are replying to my question, at no time did I say there was a threat to our ability to vote,I asked if a non citizen in the case of conscription or a military draft as in WW1 or WW2 is required to serve in the military.I would think that would be a reason why this is a much more complicated question than it may seem on the surface.

Chris from your link "That’s because Bernstein, a permanent resident of Canada, must wait at least three more years before he’s eligible for Canadian citizenship and therefore isn’t afforded the right to vote." I dont see a problem with that,if someone wants to enjoy what this country has to offer I dont see why they shouldnt commit to becoming a citizen.There is a reason it takes time to be accepted,criminal record checks and such,I cant see why we should give them a vote until they have proven themselves to be eligible to be part of our society.

Chris, we have easily dismissed how genuinely unfair it is that people who own commercial property and pay a significant amount towards the civic budget (47%) have very little say in the size of the city budget, areas of spending or how much is required of them.

How often does the business/employment community stand before council to express concerns and get told - 'you don't vote' - I have heard that phrase with my own ears from this current Vision council.

There certainly should be some sort of way for everyone's interests to be represented.

Many good points. Aside for the at-large thing, for 10 at-large to work you need 100 candidates, and knowledge of them all. Is that going to work? Hasn't. Mayor:Candidate ratio is greater then any other office to candidate ration.

Now a good reason to vote is to make sure your Candidate(s) do as well as you can. Ini-mini-mi-knee-moe for offices you can't pick all slots in. Showing up alone is voting for the vote.
The lower the turn out the better the more totalitarian leaning Candidates do. Give or take.

And...ahem....there are plenty to drop protest votes on.
Always a least of all evils. Not two or both. Seeking office
shows a little evil in even me. No telling, I am human.

Gölök

Perhaps Bernstein should be used at least as example of how happy they should be to have a vote for multiple candidates, well if it's counted and reported right, it is a secret ballot.
Some countries they do die for it and even leave a finger print on the ballot.
My father escaped with his family in 1956 from Hungary, where a vote was taken but neighborhoods who at the risk of murder or worse Siberian farming were vocally against the pinkos on mass the commies won a majority in. Having a choice of commie or death on the ballot. They still hired canvassers to ask, this is what landed my father's mother's father in Siberia, asking why they won a land slide where they were hated.
Maybe some are sent to the Baffin Islands. Will we ever know? May as well vote till we do.

Gölök

Sorry if confusing or discouraging before. One more thing, at least they know what you think if they report it wrong.

Amazing how such a lovely simple post by Daniel can turn into a dispute. Anyway, I though this was worth tweeting twice. Hope everyone gets out and votes.

For the record, I would be happy in Permanent Residents could vote and I think the idea of giving corporations a vote is a very bad idea.

But the real need is to get more people already able to vote engaged and voting. Low turn out generally benefits the conservative minority.

Regarding conscription. We don't have it and are unlikely to have it in the future. Such a low likelihood hypothetical shouldn't be a factor.

Julia:
I don't think businesses and corporations are suffering from a lack of 'pull' in our communities. I think their interests are well represented and there's no need to make such a huge change to our principles and start giving a vote to organizations. If you're going to do that, then why not a vote for non-profts, NGOs, etc, universities, unions, etc?

Gman:

In the absence of a compelling reason to restrict freedoms and rights, a fair democracy makes sure everyone has a say. I can find no good reason to deny a permanent resident who has made the country their home a chance to cast a ballot. Forcing them to take an oath to get to vote is a double standard. Natural born Canadians don't have to do it, why should a permanent resident be forced to spend hundreds of dollars for the same right? A double standard simply because someone is unable to choose where they're born. That's not democracy.

Julia:

One more point. If we gave businesses the vote, how would you police the very real possibility that someone might set up 5 or 10 or 50 numbered companies that don't actually do any business, just so they could cast additional ballots? Esp. if that person has the deep pockets of say, our lovely local motorcycle enthusiasts that proudly label themselves as one-percenters and have a vested interest in continuing the ongoing war on plants, I mean drugs. :-)

If businesses want more say, it seems to me they have the ability to engage their employees in a constructive dialogue about the candidates and share with them the benefits to the business and its employees if they support a particular candidate or party. This would actually give them even more of a say, since a convincing argument might encourage more than one person to align their vote with their employer's wishes, which would be better than just handing a business a single vote.

cheers,

CK

Votes are for people, real people, not legal fictions like corporations that are bought and sold. End stop.

Hang on a minute Chris K... you are now moving into a totally different conversation than where we were originally.

We are only talking about a business owner that owns or rents property in a specific municipality to have the same ability to stand beside a renter in that specific municipality to have a voice when it comes time for taxation and spending.

Steve, I can appreciate why this is a bad idea. The province looked at it this past year and has all the same questions that everyone else has. However, When municipalities insist of sticking the non-voting commercial tax roll with such a disproportionate share of the civic tax burden, you can understand why there is significant push back.

Excellent point Scott. The jingoism is a little irritating. In Canada, our government, our freedom, and our right to vote were won by politicians and negotiation, not by bullets.

"a business owner that owns or rents property in a specific municipality to have the same ability to stand beside a renter in that specific municipality"

By that rationale Julia I should be allowed to vote where I work as well as where I live if I work in a different municipality than my place of residence.

If you pay taxes (and we all do) then you should get to vote. How much taxes you pay shouldn't get you more votes.

To play turnabout with you, what jurisdictions are there that give businesses a vote at election time?

cheers,
CK

ChrisK, you are mixing income tax with property tax. Totally different animal.

My wallet can't tell the difference, why should the voting booth? :-)

Voting process was a bit odd in that the gentleman who took the ballot in the sleeve and put it in the ballot box had to pull the ballot about 2-3 inches up in the sleeve so he could insert it into the ballot box. In so doing he could see whether the oval besides Anton's name had been coloured in. Anybody else?

Garbage Chris. Nowadays it's very easy to be a Canadian citizen and you should need to be a citizen to vote. Not much to ask.

Scott, I suppose we did not fight in the 2nd world war. As the son of a WWII veteran (who volunteered) I strongly disagree with your silly assumption. Yes our generation has never been to war, and thankfully our soil has not been really threatened in over 60 years. However to trivialize the sacrifices of the prior generations is so wrong I can't find any adjective to express the level of revolt within myself this causes. By the way the Japanese Imperial Navy did land a few bombs on the BC coast during the 2nd world war. Just because current conditions do not require us to defend our nation, that may change and to be unaware of the threats to our society is just plain ignorance.

Chris,

I'm am immigrant. I think I have a better perspective on it than you. I got my landed immigrant status, spent my 3 years getting to know the place and putting down roots, and then got my citizenship. Until you take the step of committing to your new country by taking out citizenship, you're not really committing to your new country. You're just "passing through". So, you can't vote till you take that step. It's perfectly fair and reasonable.

And BTW, I came from a country with a somewhat spotty history of political freedom. I value the opportunity to vote more than apparently 65% of the residents of Vancouver.

Foo:

I'm an immigrant too.

JZee:

Why should you have to be a citizen to vote? Didn't used to be that way in Canada. Not looking for absolutist statements. Still waiting for a rational reason to deny so many people a chance to be able to complain haha re: if you don't vote, don't complain. Esp. when citizenship costs hundreds of dollars to jump through hoops. A barrier for lots of permanent residents.

cheers,

CK

Oh, come on Chris. The fee for citizenship is $200. You have to write one simple test and attend the ceremony. Compared to uprooting your life and starting over in a completely different culture, losing all your friends, never being able to see family members again, it's nothing. The only people who would see the fee and "hoops to jump through" as onerous are those who're not really interested in making a commitment to the place. And so they don't get to vote. I'll say it again, seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Thank goodness that goofball Klassen didn't get in. No surprises here, Vancouver doesn't want the NPA and their regressive, negative, garbage politics.

And yet here you are shooting off your mouth on a platform Mike and Daniel's hardwork provided you.

What an idiotic non sequitur, though I wouldn't expect any more on here.

And yet you felt the need to post here again. How strange, in a sad, pathetic kind of way.

@Foo:

I would think that $200 could easily be a barrier for a young immigrant from a developing country.

It's still a two-tiered system based upon imaginary lines on a map and the circumstances of birth. Not very democratic whether it's $1.00 or a $1000. Natural-born Canadians don't have to pay to vote.

Again, I'd like to hear a good reason for the restriction, not excuses for the current inequity. So, for no one has come up with even a bad reason to deny the vote, esp. since it would be returning the franchise and other countries similar to Canada see the value in extending the vote to non-citizens in some circumstances. If a country want to be a leader in the free world, it helps to act like one.

Oops, so far, not 'so, for' I should start using that preview button.

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